by Frank Li
This is the fifteenth article of the series: “Towards An Ideal Form of Government”.
Previously, I identified four major similarities between communism and democracy as follows:
In this article, I will identify “you didn’t build that” as a fifth major similarity between communism and democracy.
1. What is “you didn’t build that”?
In a recent campaign speech, President Obama stated: "If you've got a business - you didn't build that."
There has been a lot of discussion about this. None is better than this video discussion from the Wall Street Journal: Ad Watch: What Does ‘You Didn’t Build That' Really Mean?
This video provides some context from which you can form your own opinions. In the rest of this article I will share mine.
2. How do I feel about “you didn’t build that”?
As the founder and owner of a business, I was deeply offended by that statement, and would like to simply reply like this: “Yes, I built that!” Additionally, here are three basic questions for President Obama:
- Did not all the unsuccessful business people in the U.S. have the same (if not more) “help” from the government but fail anyway (e.g. Solyndra)?
- Don’t the successful business people pay, through confiscatory taxes, for all the government “help” they receive?
- When you phoned Michael Phelps after he won his 19th Olympic medal, dared you start with "you didn't build that (record)"?
As someone who grew up in communist China (1949-1976), I found President Obama’s statement distressing and sounding eerily familiar …
3. “You didn’t build that” in communism
One core idea of communism is the denial of the ownership of private property - all in the name of “you didn’t build that”. People (or the proletarians) did! So the communists in China did two things:
- They confiscated the property of the “rich” (e.g. factory owners and landlords), making them government property.
- They took all your rights away, and then gave some back to you - while demanding that you be grateful to them.
What was the result? China became dirt poor! Why and how? It turned out that the proletarians were proletarians for a good reason: they did not know how to build! In other words, “when the proletarians were in charge, everybody became a proletarian” (Ideology)!
4. “You didn’t build that” in democracy
A few years ago, someone conducted a worldwide survey based on one single question: “what do you think of Bill Gates?” Here are some results:
- America: “He is great. I wish my child will be like him.”
- Spain: “He is good, but he should pay more taxes.”
- France: “He is evil. Let’s burn down his house and confiscate all his property.”
The details of the survey are not important - You get the point, hopefully.
There should be no place in America for such an outrageous statement as “you didn’t build that”! I have already written a lot about America (e.g. What is America, Anyway? and American Democracy: What Went Wrong and When?). Here are two key points:
- America thrived previously due to rugged individualism and unfettered capitalism. America is in decline now because of its slide towards socialism and communism.
- No public servant in America, including the President, must be allowed to say to a master “you didn't build that”! It’s insulting; it’s un-American; it’s communistic!
Unfortunately, President Obama said just that! It is totally unacceptable and it is utterly indefensible, despite all the efforts by the White House and the Obama campaign!
Was it a gaffe? Yes, if gaffe means “when a politician tells the truth” (Wikipedia). I believe it was an accurate reflection of President Obama’s ideology for three reasons:
- He previously loudly professed “spreading the wealth”, and he recently initiated a naked assault on capitalism (Obama: Bain attacks ‘not a distraction’),
- His policy over the past three and a half years speak amply about his ideology. As a result, we are now more deeply in debt and more deeply into socialism than ever, with no easy way back!
- He has never owned or led a business. Instead, he has mostly been a public servant, but frequently spoke over his masters!
5. The U.S. vs. China
In China, there are no real democratic elections, yet. But some experiments have been conducted at the low levels. For example, at the village level, people often elect the richest person to be the village leader. Why? Because “we all want to be like him (or her)!”
In the U.S., we now face a critical choice: who should be our next President? Should we give Mitt Romney, a successful businessman, a chance, or continue with Barack Obama, a community organizer, a career politician, and a “not-good-enough” President at best? For the Chinese, the answer is a no-brainer. But for Americans, who knows …
China has come a long way to leave communism behind and embrace capitalism, while the U.S. is rapidly moving the other way! Thomas Sowell said it the best (The Limits of Power): we are “moving in the direction of the kind of economy that China has been forced to move away from.”
Like communism, democracy has many merits in theory. But in practice and effect, democracy looks more and more like communism. I have, so far, identified five similarities between them, with this latest one, “you didn’t build that”, being the most obvious (I think): democracy has resulted in a communistic person being the American President! What more evidence do you still need to be convinced that democracy, as we know it today, is moving toward communism? An open communist as the American President?
Now, two basic questions for you:
- Romney's tax returns: Are you supposed to be angrier about what Mitt Romney does with his own money than about what President Obama does with your money (Who is Barack Obama)?
- Obama's grades in college: Everybody knows Barack Obama was inexperienced before becoming the President. But many think he is smart. If that’s true, why is it so hard for him to reveal his grades in college (Obama campaign makes case for releasing his college transcripts)? President George W. Bush did (a C student at Yale)!
All signs indicate that Barack Obama received a lot of “help” from the government throughout his life – Good for him! But it’s simply unacceptable for him to insult the successful business people, the heart and soul of America (the prosperous version), by saying “you didn’t build that”!
Something is profoundly wrong here - President Obama does not seem to understand America at all! No wonder America is so deeply in trouble …
What, then, is the solution for the U.S.? Bet on Mitt Romney by demanding that he be a great President as I suggested (an open letter to Mitt Romney)!
Change, start with the American President!
About the Author
Frank Li is the Founder and President of W.E.I. (West-East International), a Chicago-based import & export company. Frank received his B.E. from Zhejiang University (China) in 1982, M.E. from the University of Tokyo in 1985, and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1988, all in Electrical Engineering. He worked for several companies until 2004, when he founded his own company W.E.I. Today, W.E.I. is a leader in the weighing industry not only in products & services, but also in thought and action.